The first week in September is always hard to adjust to as it’s usually the first week that most British holidaymakers arrive home and go back to work. Well, that was certainly the case for my boyfriend and I after coming back from Cyprus, so we decided to try and escape the routines that we had too easily fallen back into and relive our Mediterranean paradise by visiting Modern Meditteranean restaurant Morito.
Located on the hip Hackney Road, Morito is a tapas/meze restaurant which draws influences from Southern Spain, Eastern Mediterranean and even North Africa. The owners make it their mission to source uncommon produce; in fact some of which aren’t even widely available in London yet.
Whilst they have an array of wines from all around the Med including the unique Orange Wine, I decided to try their special cocktail for the night.
I planned to also try a glass of their wide selection of wines, but this was so good (and pretty may I add) that I stuck with it all night.
Cava can normally have quite a strong, dry taste, but this aperitivo oozed notes of fruit and floral which made it much more pleasurable!
Prior to arriving to the restaurant, we booked a table online so I wasn’t quite happy when we were shown to our seats at the bar. However, sitting here actually turned out to be a great experience because we were able to feel the true welcoming culture of the Mediterranean by being up close and personal with the staff, and seeing how they were serving. It felt like we’d gone to visit friends!
This welcoming feeling was only reiterated with the open kitchen behind us.
Along with every other millennial, and Greek person for that matter, we are both lovers of halloumi so this was inevitably what we chose for our first dish. It’s a nice and light option to begin with and open the palate.
It may not appear so from the picture, but the slices were really long and really thick. Initially, this scared me a little because if not cooked right, thick slices can end up too chewy. However this was cooked to perfection. Almost like a potato, it was lovely and crispy on the outside and soft and warm on the inside.
I’ve also never had Halloumi with nuts before, but the crunch of the chopped salad and walnuts which laid beneath it complemented the softness of the cheese inside beautifully.
Next was the thin strips of succulent steak topped with fresh salsa; made up of cherry tomatoes, sesame seeds and olives. Doesn’t get more Mediterranean than that right?
You can never go wrong with a tomato based sauce and it helped that the beef was seared, so it locked in the moisture. Lovely combo.
If you read my blog post about my visit to Barcelona last summer, you’ll know how much I love this dish. Literally translating to “bread with tomato” (more tomato after our previous dish I know) it may not sound that exciting, but it’s shockingly the opposite. It’s compact with so much flavour; the base of the bread is pasted with olive oil, herbs and garlic which is then topped with fresh, juicy tomatoes.
We decided to add some jamon to one slice which added a beautiful salty taste to the mix too. And just like that, it felt like we were back in Barcelona again!
If you’ve read any of my previous food blog posts, you may have noticed a heavy feature of scallops. Whenever I go out to eat, I try my hardest to eat something that I wouldn’t normally have everyday or that is hard to cook at home, and scallops certainly fulfil the criteria of both of these points.
They aren’t something you come across on a regular basis in England and they are unbelievably hard to cook because within a few seconds, they can become overcooked resulting in a horrible chewy texture. Much like the halloumi, these were cooked with just enough crisp on the outside yet so soft inside.
I was also intrigued to see how the chorizo tasted with scallops as I’ve not tried it before and I’m glad I did. It reminded me of a prawn and chorizo paella minus the rice – take my money!
Now this may not look like the most appetising dish, but the flavours certainly make up for its appearance. I can only describe this dish as a ravioli with minced lamb and yoghurt, but it was actually Turkish dumplings (Manti) and they were delicious. The spiced lamb had the same spices of a curry, so the yoghurt really went well with this and cooled it down. Such a creamy, tasty dish; probably my favourite one of the night! I’m glad I had some pan con tomate left to dip into the sauce.
To be completely honest, as amazing as all of our plates were, we weren’t quite full up. Therefore it was only right that we ordered two desserts. It may not look like it, but the dessert on the right is actually baklava and dare I say it was the best baklava I’ve ever had. Have you ever had baklava drizzled in warm, melted, gooey chocolate goodness? I didn’t think so. You need to get down to Morito to try it!
The peaches were amazing too as they were basted in a wonderfully sweet and sticky syrup, but I just couldn’t finish it. I was also pleased to see it feature filo pastry which is typical in Turkish and Greek cuisine. An enjoyable contemporary twist on the British delicacy that is peaches and cream.
Overall, I would recommend Morito for a casual dinner with friends, a mid-week date night with your parter, or even a visit by yourself for some modern Mediterranean food and wine. As mentioned earlier, Morito welcomes a very open and honest culture, so you won’t feel alone.
I look forward to returning to try out the Orange wine and indulging in some chocolate baklava again. Why not #DiscoverDifference for yourself and book a table at Morito now? As well as the Hackney Road restaurant, you can also enjoy Morito from their first opened restaurant on Exmouth Market.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments box below…